Site owners and developers who work with WordPress (WP) sites should be keeping one eye peeled for updates to this popular platform and making sure of four things:
- all of their plugins are up-to-date
- all unused plugins are deactivated and deleted
- site themes are up-to-date
- they have current backups for their site(s) and they know how to access them
While it has always been important to keep the WP core and plugins up to date, it is a tad more important these days because significant changes are coming with WordPress 5.0. As the 1/2 way point for 2018 approaches, I find myself looking for any hints of when this major update will occur since it will affect many of my clients and their websites.
What will make WordPress 5.0 so different? In addition to some new and highly useful menu, layout, and styling changes the Gutenberg Editor makes the concept of content blocks available to anyone who uses WordPress because it is becoming part of the core software. Currently this feature is available with some WP themes and their framework systems. I know from experience with a number of these themes/frameworks that content blocks make it really easy to move content elements and create more customized layouts
On different level, the adoption of content blocks will have two key effects that site owners need to begin thinking about now: how users interact with WordPress and how WordPress interacts with the vast array of Plugins that are available and many sites depend on.
How does WordPress 5.0 change how users interact with the WP editor and present their content?
Moving blocks of content is easier than traditional development but (as mentioned earlier) it will add another layer to the process since you have to create/select a block, edit it and save it. Divying up content into these blocks will force users to rethink how they look at content creation and editing. A useful analogy for WP users would be to think of the content blocks like Lego blocks. The most interesting lego creations use lots of different blocks that often offer different functions, connections, doors, wheels, windows etc. Content blocks will probably make it easier to add in different types of content and users experiences to websites. Like all signigicant software changes, user interaction with WP is a learning opportunity to consider how content blocks are manipulated, related, and reused. Users, particularly those without much WP and/or content block experience or need to plan to take the time to learn how the new interface works to save time and frustration.
How does WordPress 5.0 change how the WP interacts with plugins and themes?
Gutenberg will make a some plugins obsolete and may cause site hiccups with both plugins and themes. This is great unknown factor and everyone is wondering…
- will WP5.0 play nicely with the themes sites currently use?
- what plugins are obsolete and/or unusuable
Most WP sites use plugins to handle or improve functionalities their themes don’t handle. Themes with frameworks make it easier to create customised pages. The day 5.0 goes live I am sure that my company will spend lots of time triaging sites and asking questions like what is no longer working? What is no longer necessary? What needs to be done first?
A plugin that allows the WP community to use the “classic interface will be available but should be used as a transition tool not a permanent crutch. The notion that these changes to WordPress, especially content blocks, will keep the popular CMS system ahead of the competition of editors like Wix and Weebly, Squarespace, and templating systems from large hosting firms will all depend on how smoothly the upgrade and resultant transitions go.
It would be great if all the new release of WordPress 5.0 passes as uneventfully as the turn-of-the-century and the prophesied computer problems, but I will admit that I will keep checking the blogs until go live happens. If you have a WordPress site and are unsure about the status of your
and would like a guide through the wilderness contact me today.
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